Have you ever changed the way you act when you are around a certain friend? Don’t look away. You know you’ve done it. Maybe it happens around all your friends, anyone who you spend more than a few minutes with, but the point is that some people just cause you to act differently. You don’t try to, but you find yourself using slang around one person, speaking respectfully to another, and talking nonstop with a third. What’s the common denominator?
More often than not, I find myself conforming to the personality of the person I’m with. No doubt this can have consequences, but if I really enjoy that person’s company—if I admire her and aspire to be like her in some way—then I’ve realized it can actually be a very healthy thing, as the Apostle Paul says in I Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”
But not until recently did I realize that the same principle applied to my relationship with Christ. Yes, I loved the Lord. Yes, I wanted to obey His Word. Yes, He was my Friend. But what a revelation when God brought me face-to-face with the concept: the more time my Friend and I spent together, the more He began to change my actions to look like His.
As God showed me the impact He could have through me, He nurtured in me the desire for His presence. I began spending a few minutes each morning and each night praying my way through Scripture. Heading into the day with the wisdom of His Word on my mind guided me in making the right choices, in seeing the joy in the ordinary; and ending with a Psalm or Proverb before bed put my mind to rest and helped me sleep easier. As I drew nearer to God, I saw Him working in and through me in more and more areas.
Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” When we seek God, He blesses us with the reward of a life lived like His. Day by day, with each moment spent with Him, He chips away at our sinful nature to carve out an image more like Himself. His desires become ours. Our actions are used for His purposes. We begin to see results that we could have never achieved on our own.
Remember your friends from earlier? Chances are they have some qualities you’d rather not emulate. But you still spend time with them. You still allow yourself to take on parts of their personality. How much more should we seek to spend time with, to become like, and to draw near to the perfect Friend?
Arielle Kneeland [first-year student] is a member of Living Hope, Rogers, Minn.